September 13, 2009
Chinese Business Scams
August 2009 has probably been the hardest month my company has seen yet, which isn’t a surprise. The economy is down, production work is down, less and less companies are seeking to upgrade their video solutions or invest in the
production of updated training videos and so forth, plus Norcross Media is still a relatively young company, we haven’t totally found our footing. Suffice to say we have
certainly created an amazing back catalog of work in a very short period of time.
So as you can understand, receiving an e-mail from a Chinese Media Company that needs production work completed in the United States was pretty exciting for us. We received the e-mail through KEMPS, an online database of production companies from around the world.
Here is the original message:
Sent: Saturday, September 5, 2009 5:25:32 AM
Subject: Sales enquiry courtesy of Kemps
Chengdu Chinese-Western Media Co.,Ltd
Add: Beisanhuan Road No.36, Jinniu District, Chengdu, Sichuan, China
According to the business extending, we�?Tre going to make a video program in your contry. Including 35 collections with 20 minutes each. We�?Td like to know the geographic traveling�?�cultural customs�?�history and economics, etc. We�?Tre looking forward to your early reply. Please send us a quotaion as long as you decide to accept our request. Wish we can make a good cooperation.
This email was sent from the Kemps company profile page of Norcross Media LLC
RBI (Kemps) cannot be held responsible for the contents of this message
* Kemps – a comprehensive production guide to film, *
* television and commercial production industries *
* Visit us – http://www.kftv.com *
I immediately replied with a quick off the cuff sum, figuring that it was probably too good to be true and if they were truly interested, they were probably well backed to pay an appropriately priced bill.
date Sat, Sep 5, 2009 at 12:41 PM
subject Sales enquiry courtesy of Kemps
hide details Sep 5 (9 days ago)
Thank you for your query,
We would probably be able to produce your 35 collections at a rate of $300,000 per episode.
We would need to know more about where you would want us to go, what type of events you’d like us to videotape and so forth. For an exact quote, we need more details.
Thanks for your interest in Norcross Media Productions!
Contact Info Redacted
Here is his or her reply back to me:
This is determined by our two TV stations in a joint project,now I will sent the detail information to you ,please give me the quotation depending on it.
I’m not going to post the attachments here, they are quite irrelevant anyway and basically describes that they’re looking for a production company to produce 40 episodes of a travel series, detailing the history and culture of various areas of
America. Yes, 40 is one of the key numbers because in the e-mails he lists the number of episodes as 35. This was clue number two.
I proceeded to review his attachment and worked with my colleague and girlfriend of two years Jan, on creating a reasonable quote, that would also help us determine if
these people or person was legit or not. Eventually we decided to lower the initial price per episode to $240,000 and quote his company a total of $9,600,000 for the
production work on his series.
It took them a few days to get back to me, but they eventually did (the morning that I’m writing this) and here is what they wrote:
Dear Sir or Madam
We’ve spending days talking about your quotation and we would pleased to accept your quotation proposal. Meanwhile, I send you our cooperation comments for your confirmation and admendment or you can send us your cooperation proposal if possible.
In order promote our cooperation regarding this project, Our CEO has the hornor to invite you for a conference in Shen Zhen (south-east of China), from this October, 10th to October,25th. We will have an interview and then reach a formal contract above this project. You can fly to Hong Kong, and it is only 40 minutes distance from Hong Kong to Shen Zhen. Wish you can spare your time then.
Can anyone guess Clue #3? ”Dear Sir or Madam”, the individual never called me by my name like they did prior. If they were serious about contracting Norcross Media for a multi-million dollar production job, their representative would definitely be keeping tabs on who they’re communicating with.
Clue number four is that they invited me to meet with them in China. Based on their previous attachments, describing the project, they wanted to get going on the production right away. So why would I waste any time traveling to China when we can have contracts sent back and forth and witness by notary public? Hmmm….
He or She attached a Microsoft Word Document to the e-mail that included an outline of their company’s agreement but offered me the chance to re-write the entire thing. So I re-wrote it entirely in my favor. I added stipulations that would
require them to remit payment for the episodes via a cashiers check or money order and that no episodes would be filmed unless the check(s) cleared. I also added stipulations that insisted that if they didn’t provide the financing for the episodes in full, Norcross Media would not be legally responsible for not finishing said episodes. I went all out, because I knew they were expecting a sitting duck…. What
they didn’t realize is that they were toying with a perfectly healthy and intelligent eagle.
In the early morning hours of September 16, 2009 – like clockwork, as predicted, the Chinese businessmen invited me to Shenzhen to sign the agreement (my version, which they accepted without question). Knowing very well that their plans were to scam me out of whatever cash I was traveling with, I decided to play along, rather than tell them that I knew who they were. I informed them that I had booked tickets
to China for October 9, 2009, flight code: China Southern CZ 328. While this is a real arrival, I will by no means be on this flight.
*Update: Since writing this article, I received two more communications from the scam artists, wondering what my status is. I finally revealed to them that I know her they were and proceeded to threaten the “bajeesus” out of them. I haven’t from mthem since so I’m have no doubt they’ve realized that this is a dead end for them.